Cameras are generally considered to be the stand-out feature of the Galaxy Ultra phones, and that's no exception for the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, which looks like a real contender for the top spot on our best camera phones list.
Revealed officially at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked, the Galaxy S24 Ultra's camera suite is very similar to that of the Galaxy S23 Ultra other than the fact that the 10-megapixel 10x optical zoom telephoto camera has been swapped out for a higher resolution 50MP camera with a 5x optical zoom. That means less optical range, but greater detail, which then allows Samsung to use AI-based image processing and cropping to punch into 10x, giving users a way to get that extra zoom without the need for a physical 10x lens.
AI will play a major role elsewhere in the Galaxy S24 range's cameras, and there's lots more to dig into with the Ultra's photographic setup in general. So read on for everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra's cameras.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra cameras: specs
Before we take a deeper look at Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s camera, here are its camera specs at a glance.
|Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
|12MP f/2.2 ,
|50MP f/3.4 periscope 5x optical zoom, 10MP f/2.4 3x optical zoom
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra cameras: a more flexible system
While the main, ultra-wide and 3x telephoto cameras on the Galaxy S24 Ultra haven't changed much compared to those of their predecessor, the phone and its S24 stablemates can tap into the new ProVisual AI Engine.
Complex names aside, this basically means Samsung has worked to improve how the Galaxy S24 range's cameras deliver more natural-looking photos and better low-light performance, notably on the 50MP 5x telephoto camera. This has 1.6x larger pixels and improved image stabilization for better zoomed-in photos and videos when lighting is less than optimal.
There's also an algorithm that ensures HDR photos are captured even when using a the camera function in a third-party app such as Instagram. This should avoid the need to capture shots in the Galaxy camera app and then upload them via a social media app; instead everything can be done in the latter app.
Thanks to smart processing and cropping via high-resolution sensors, Samsung has dubbed the Galaxy S24 Ultra's cameras as having a "Quad Optical Zoom". By this the company means it can deliver optical-zoom quality images across 2x, 3x, 5x, and 10x zooms. AI will help process the pixels between the main camera to 3x, 5x to 10x and use a super resolution technique when zooming further, maxing out at the 100x "Space Zoom".
All in all, dropping the lower-resolution 10x zoom camera looks to make for an overall more flexible cameras system; being able to zoom in at 5x optical is arguably more practical than a 10x optical zoom.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra cameras: AI integrated
As mentioned earlier, AI is playing a big part in the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra's cameras.
The smart tech will suggest photography edits to completely remaster an image or simply remove things like reflections, and all without the need for advanced editing knowledge.
But Generative Edit looks to be the big mover and shaker. Not unlike the Google Pixel 8's Magic Editor, it uses AI to manipulate an image, from filling in missing pixels when cropping or straightening an image, to letting users fully recompose the photos by moving people and objects via a simple tap and highlight. This takes a moment to process, but from our experience so far works rather well.
To bypass concerns over AI photo fakery, Samsung said metadata indicating AI edits will be embedded in the photos.
This use of generative AI also extends to frame generation for video, letting the AI create and insert additional frames into video at 120 frames per second to instantly turn a video into a slow-motion footage; this could be great if you mistimed a video of a car race or a big fireworks display.
Before we come to any conclusions as to the Galaxy S24 Ultra's cameras and photography capabilities, we'll need to fully test the new flagship phone. But so far its flexible camera system and AI features looks to be onto a winner.
Check out our early impressions of the AI and cameras in our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review. And do give our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 review and hands-on Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review a read as well.
More about the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
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Roland Moore-Colyer is Managing Editor at TechRadar with a focus on phones and tablets, but a general interest in all things tech, especially those with a good story behind them. He can also be found writing about games, computers, and cars when the occasion arrives, and supports with the day-to-day running of TechRadar. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face and a nose for food markets.